By Mike Cherney
SYDNEY--Qantas Chief Executive Alan Joyce will step down two months earlier than planned, as Australia's biggest airline seeks to quickly repair its public image following legal action from Australia's competition regulator.
Joyce's successor, Vanessa Hudson, will now assume the chief executive role on Sept. 6, the airline said.
"In the last few weeks, the focus on Qantas and events of the past make it clear to me that the company needs to move ahead with its renewal as a priority," Joyce said.
Allegations of Selling Cancelled Flights
Last week, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleged that the carrier sold thousands of tickets for flights it knew had been cancelled. The ACCC alleged that the company kept selling tickets for more than 8,000 flights for an average of more than two weeks after cancellation.
The allegations angered many long-time Qantas customers, who had already complained about falling service levels as the airline ramped up after the Covid-19 pandemic.
In response, Qantas acknowledged that its service standards fell, but pointed out that the allegations related to a time of upheaval in the industry as airlines sought to rebound after Covid-19.
"This transition comes at what is obviously a challenging time for Qantas and its people," Qantas Chairman Richard Goyder said Tuesday. "We have an important job to do in restoring the public's confidence in the kind of company we are."
He added that Joyce always had the best interests of the airline at heart and thanked him for his leadership.
The airline also announced on Tuesday that the appointment of Rob Marcolina as chief financial officer will be accelerated, given that Hudson is currently the CFO.
Despite the recent challenges posed by Covid-19, Qantas reported last month that it had swung back to annual profit for the first time since fiscal 2019.